10 Things Teen Patti and Three Card Brag Have in Common

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India’s beloved gambling game, Teen Patti closely resembles the British game Three Card Brag. Here’s a list of 10 common features between the two casino games.

Shared History of Origin

The origins of Teen Patti and Three Card Brag intertwine with the rich history of card games. Three Card Brag, a modern version, traces its roots to Brag, an 18th-century British card game that itself descended from the 16th-century Elizabethan game known as Primero.

Brag, a precursor to Poker, underwent evolutionary changes in betting style and hand rankings over the years, culminating in forming Three Card Brag as we know it today. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the oldest British representative of the Poker family.

However, the rules of Brag emerged only in 1721, documented in the games compendia, The Compleat Gamester, where it was mentioned as ‘The Ingenious and Pleasant Game of Bragg.’

In it, the game was linked to Post and Pair, a card game dating back to 1528. Brag, however, featured a twist with the introduction of wild cards known as Braggers. Interestingly, the game of Post and Pair itself descends from Primero.

Thus, Primero, a noble 40-card deck game admired by historical figures such as Gerolamo Cardano, François Rabelais, and William Shakespeare, has played a foundational role in shaping Brag, Poker, as well as Three Card Brag.

Teen Patti, often considered the Asian equivalent of Three Card Brag, reflects the influence of the British Empire in the Indian subcontinent. As a traditional British card game, Three Card Brag left its mark on India due to colonial connections, introducing British card traditions to the region.

This historical interplay shapes the shared origins of Teen Patti and Three Card Brag, connecting the dots between the evolution of card games in Britain and their impact on the Indian subcontinent.

Deck of 52 Cards

Both Teen Patti and Three Card Brag use the standard deck of 52 French-suited playing cards. It means each round involves 4 suits – clubs (♣), diamonds (♦), hearts (♥), and spades (♠) with 13 cards in each suit.

Of them, 3 are court cards or face cards – King, Queen, and Jack, while the 10 remaining cards are numerical or pip cards ranging from one (Ace) to ten.

Note that the standard deck of cards usually includes Joker cards, which are discarded in both games – another similarity between the two games! Of course, a deviation in Teen Patti is to use the two Joker cards as wild cards. But this is an exception rather than a rule.

Forced Ante

In both games, an ante is imposed upon all players at the beginning of each round (akin to Poker). Before the deal begins, every player contributes an equal amount of money or chips to the pot. This is separate from a player’s bet.

This Teen Patti rule for a forced boot amount ensures all players contribute something toward the pot right away instead of waiting for a strong hand on which they can bet.

It also encourages players to actively play their hands instead of consistently folding by ensuring that players who keep folding will gradually, but surely lose money.

Three Cards for a Hand

Teen Patti and Three Card Brag share a common gameplay element: every player gets a three-card hand dealt face down.

The nomenclature of the games also reflects this characteristic: Three Card Brag explicitly denotes the three-card aspect, while the Hindi translation of Teen Patti is ‘3 Cards,’ which reinforces the connection to the three-card hands in the game.

We must mention here that both games are a simplified version of traditional Poker played with a five-card hand. The use of three cards simplifies and speeds up the games, making them easier to understand and play.

From a mathematical point of view, the number of possible combinations for different hands with three cards is more manageable compared to traditional Poker with five cards. The hand rankings and calculations are simpler as well.

Also, a game with three cards tends to be faster-paced than one with more cards. This is desirable in social settings where players prefer quicker rounds of play. No wonder games like Teen Patti have gained popularity in social gatherings and festive occasions.

Same Goal and Hand Rankings

Whether playing Teen Patti or Three Card Brag, your goal is to win with the highest-ranking hand. The winner takes all the money or chips in the pot.

The ranking of hands in Teen Patti is as follows:

  • Trail, Set, or Trio: three cards of a kind
  • Pure Sequence, Straight Flush, or Pakki Round: three consecutive cards of the same suit
  • Sequence, Run, or Straight: three consecutive cards of different suits
  • Color or Flush: three cards of the same suit, but not in sequence
  • Pair: two cards of the same rank
  • High Card: highest-ranking card in Teen Patti with no other combinations made
Teen Patti hand rankings

Similarly, the ranking of hands in Three Card Brag from highest to lowest is as follows:

  • Pair Royal or Prial:  three cards of a kind
  • Straight Flush or Running Flush: three consecutive cards of the same suit
  • Run or Straight: three consecutive cards of different suits
  • Flush: three cards of the same suit, but not in sequence
  • Pair: two cards of the same rank
  • High Card: highest-ranking card in Three Card Brag with no other combinations made

Note that a Pure Sequence or Sequence of A-2-3 in traditional Teen Patti is more valuable than A-K-Q. Likewise, a Running Flush or Run of A-2-3 in Three Card Brag is more valuable than A-K-Q.

So you see, the hand ranking hierarchy is the same in both games, albeit with a slight twist: in Teen Patti the highest-ranking hand is a Trio of Aces (A-A-A) while in Three Card Brag, it is a Prial of 3’s (3-3-3).

Same Odds

Because both Teen Patti and Three Card Brag use a deck of 52 cards and follow the same rules for hand ranking, the odds of both games are the same. For clarity, check the table below.

Teen Patti HandThree Card Brag HandFrequencyProbabilityOdds
Trail, Set, or TrioPair Royal or Prial520.24%424:00:1
Pure Sequence, Straight Flush, or Pakki RoundStraight Flush or Running Flush480.22%459:42:1
Sequence, Run, or StraightRun or Straight7203.26%29:69:1
Color or FlushFlush1,0674.96%19:16:1
PairPair3,74416.94%4:90:1
High CardHigh Card16,40074.39%0:34:1
Total22,100100%0:00:1

Of course, the deck isn't shuffled before dealing the cards, it impacts the odds in both games. Interestingly, there’s a custom of seldom shuffling the deck in Three Card Brag. Unless a hand wins with a Prial, the dealt cards are simply placed at the bottom of the deck.

Concept of Blind and Seen/Open Players

Both games let participants play as Blind and Seen/Open players. A Blind player places a bet without seeing the three cards dealt. On the other hand, a Seen player in Teen Patti or an Open player in Three Card Brag sees the dealt card before placing a bet.

The bet amount for Blind players must be equal to the ante or another Bling player's bet. However, it can be more than that as well. On the other hand, the bet amount for Seen players must be 2x the ante or a Blind player's bet.

Call, Raise, or Fold

When you decide to play Teen Patti or Three Card Brag, you can do any of the following after putting in the ante, based on the perceived strength of your hand:

  • Call by placing a bet that matches the ante or a Blind player’s bet if you are a Blind player yourself or is 2x the ante or a Blind player’s bet if you are a Seen player.
  • Raise by doubling the stake if you are a Blind player or quadrupling it if you are a Seen player,
  • Fold by throwing in your cards and giving up on the pot.

However, a notable difference between the two games lies in the way the betting proceeds: Three Card Brag follows a clockwise direction, while Teen Patti adopts a counter-clockwise approach.

Bluffing – the Key

Traditional Teen Patti and Three Card Brag are both games of skill with an element of luck. Chance decides the hand dealt to you and your skills decide what you make of it. Although the gameplay is simple, success hinges on strategic thinking, with bluffing being the key to outsmarting opponents.

In fact, the very essence of Three Card Brag revolves around the art of, well, bragging! As per a 1751 treatise on the game written by Edmon Hoyle, a player could declare ‘I brag’ before placing a bet to let everyone know he has a strong hand.

He could then be challenged by a rival player by matching his bet or raising the stake. The vying would continue until one of the players decides to pass by saying ‘I’ll see you.’ This is where both parties would reveal their hands so the winner can be decided.

Although these are not the exact rules, the bragging bit can very well be applied to win in Teen Patti, similar to bluffing in Poker. But remember, if you play Teen Patti online, these strategies won't work. You can't trick a computer AI or a remotely located human dealer who can't see you.

Cultural Significance and Popularity

Teen Patti enjoys huge popularity in India as one of the most beloved card games in the country. Deeply rooted in Indian culture and traditions, it is not just a mere game but an emotion that is a testament to the country’s age-old love for gambling.

Over the years, Teen Patti has evolved to become a social and cultural phenomenon, mirroring the sentiment for its precursor – Three Card Brag in the UK. Meanwhile, the latter has its own special place in the UK as a cherished card game with a long, glorious history.

For centuries, Three Card Brag has been a go-to game in British pubs and social circles, bringing families and friends together to bond over friendly rivalries. When the British Raj brought the game to India, it imbibed the local flavors, resulting in Teen Patti as we know it today.

The simplicity of Teen Patti as well as Three Card Brag appeals to players, while the strategy bit keeps them on their edge. With advancements in technology, Teen Patti has gone global with online casinos now offering it in the form of virtual as well as live dealer games.

Want to play the game for real money?

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Mattias Fröbrant is a passionate iGaming journalist renowned for his comprehensive reviews of over 300 gambling sites in India. With a remarkable 17-year gambling experience and a background working for industry giants like Betsson Group, Mattias has earned recognition as a leading expert in the Indian online gambling field.

At GamblingBaba, Mattias’s commitment to providing accurate and easily digestible information shines through meticulously researched reviews, guides, and news articles. His strong belief in honesty and transparency ensures that readers receive the most reliable insights on the Indian gambling landscape.

To get in touch with Mattias, connect via Linkedin.

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